Joshua 1 / Isaiah 7 / 1Thessalonians 1-2
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses.
Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death.
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the holy spirit and with deep conviction.
Something real was happening that wasn't about words, persuasive arguments or any human thing that would have been easy to deny considering the suffering they had to endure when they embraced what they did. They didn't go out looking for it because they were bored; it came to them because they were chosen. Paul knew they were chosen because of the power that was at work among them which was a testimony to them that it was real, and they were invited to embrace this thing that nobody knew at the time. The humans couldn't see or control it because it was all an invisible power that worked inside them to deeply convict them that it was more real than anything else, enough to throw their whole life away for, which is how it appeared to the humans.
You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the spirit.
The life of God is hidden, only revealed to whom He has chosen to reveal it, so they might become His own sons. That is why there is no convincing power or deep conviction in the general public among those who claim to know the way to the Father. If they did know the way, their church services wouldn't be a lackluster copy of a bad television show, complete with standup comedian (the "pastor") & snappy entertainment (hymns, songs). They even do their own version of commercials—collecting money to keep the show going. The life of the journey to the Father is unknown to them who hang on to their privileged heaven-bound status because they agree with and adhere to the predominating facts about the most powerful god among them at the time. Their conception of the gods can only be just another thing to them, along with everything else they supplement their spare time with, like a hobby or a second job. Being a human and surviving is their main, overriding love and the journey that occupies their main interest, taking care of themselves and their brood the same way all animals are compelled to, by the instincts that drive them to act and be like what they are. Their animal existence is their truest reality, because they themselves are their truest god; and everything else (including their devotion to their made up, unconvincing gods) takes a back seat to themselves and their plight and dilemma—having to survive in a hostile world full of competing animals.
The life and way to the Father is secret and against the way of man, what is naturally in the humans by an overpoweringly mysterious default—a significant assumption to realize about the way of the Father for the sons who know they're chosen. The intention of the Father, once they're chosen and He is revealing Himself to them, isn't to do what they'd expect or want, which comes not from Him but the animal still inside them that wants to conform everything to its own standards, even the revelation of the Father's intention. That would be to tell everyone and reveal their true identity to the humans like it was some kind of trophy that we got because we're so good—to be found out by them for our own sake to show them that we actually are someone and we have something valuable that deserves respect. The fragile egotistical cravings of the animals are relentless and intense, and this reaction to want to lift our leg and piss on it is a natural outcome of the presence of the knowledge of being chosen by God until more knowledge and tempering comes to us about the hidden nature of the life that is growing in that one. The intention of the Father is to keep the son hidden from the humans, so he purposely *cannot* receive that validation he is craving from them, which the animal cannot live without. That is how the raw nature operates, but the Father is real and the animal is only a temporary, fearful, craving-driven condition that hides what it truly is because it's bound to the shame of its indwelling fear.
"I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work."
The secret, driven nature of the son is seen most clearly in the life of Jesus whose power and authenticity was hidden from the world of the humans and revealed to only a few. He was so against the way of man that they would not accept him, and they killed him to get him out of the way, to dispose of the problem they faced of possibly having their power and lifestyle taken away. It's the way God wanted it to be, ironically to have His glory and truth hidden away in the very unlikely, foolish and "sinful" (according to the humans) looking body of His Messiah. Because he was sinful, it was convenient to dispose of him. The humans are always able to find convenient ways of disposing of God's sons—these days they don't kill them, they just kick them out of their religious clubs—while they hide what they're doing by declaring it their act of service to their gods, which are their own selves and the existences they're trying to preserve.
The teacher's work is not only to convince the sons of God of the authority of the Son, and that like him they've been chosen to become separated from the humans; but to also keep their true identity hidden from them, which is God's way as in the order of the firstborn. Man's way would be of course to have the lights and smoke and magic tricks, to show himself to the world so all would see and become convinced of the genuineness of what is happening inside him—what we secretly want for the longest time as per our egotistical cravings to be worshipped, quite common to the animal. The way of man takes comfort in numbers, which is the agreement of consensus they give each other, and he thinks that if everyone else believes something then it's most likely true. So he surrounds himself with those who are willing to give that agreement, which gets him the validation he seeks to appease the great yet ungraspable fear that rules him. It is ironically the way of unbelief, the way of the fearful animal which relies only on what he can see with his eyes and hear with his ears and understand with his mind (a big group of humans who are reinforcing the lie he has chosen to clomp onto), as to whether he can believe something or not. God's truth alive in a man doesn't need those numbers for validation or support. This is seen in the life of Jesus, the only one who had the truth, supported and validated by only the secret life of the Father living inside him—and one other son and prophet of God, John the baptist.
"You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
Man needs validation from the other humans around him because of the cravings of the animal nature within him. He needs to feel that safety because he can't believe and he gets it by looking around with his earthly eyes and seeing that there's a group of humans all believing the same thing so that earthly, temporary need can be appeased by joining up with them. In this passage his natural brothers epitomized the way of man, part sarcasm and part fear that he may actually be genuine. If so, they wanted everyone to know and be glorified as honorable members of the Messiah's family, a truly human animal thing. If the whole world would become convinced and believe, that might make it easier for his brothers to believe, because they needed the agreement of the outward validation.
The Father's intention to keep it all a secret is the way of faith and belief, which isn't necessary when the agreement of consensus is found. Jesus' purpose was to convince only 12 men who were given to him, to reveal to them who their Father was, and the way to get to Him. It is not a mistake that this sentiment came from Jesus' natural brothers. The natural means everything to animals, but nothing to God. Jesus knew that his natural brothers were nothing to him compared to the 12 men God had chosen to be sons who were existing. Then there were all of the holy people the Father had revealed Himself to before. They were his real brothers.
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."
He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
We know this had already happened in the temptation, when Jesus was first tempted the same way his brothers did later. The devil is not some external entity, but merely what sets itself up against the life of God in us. It is that old animal nature "put on" the humans (animal skins in Gen 3), who can only believe what they can see with their eyes and respond by what would physically and emotionally protect them. It is our father the serpent in us, the original liar and adversary telling us that God isn't real, and that we need validation from the world to satiate that animal craving within us.
We know that the devil tempting Jesus was merely Jesus thinking to himself what he could be and have as an animal apart from God, by the power of his own hand. The easy way—the right he had as an animal to choose to live out his animal life as all the animals do. The word of God alive inside him told him that he was the Son of God, and everyone else in the world except John told him the opposite. He reasoned with himself that if he threw himself off the top of the temple then everyone would see that he was the Son, without question, because the angels would catch him and lift him up (keep him from dying). It was a pointed and intense temptation for him, which represents a whole life of choosing the self (the right of every animal).
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
That is man's way, the way of self-seeking independence and self-preservation. Man's way is to rely on what he can get and do for himself, by the power of his own hand instead of waiting, trusting, and believing God who is invisible to the earthly ways of seeing and gratifying himself, calming the hungry animal cravings for validation, honor and respectability amongst the other animals. The recorded accounts of Joseph, Noah, Abraham, etc. all point to this same situation—they had something nobody else had, and yet they were the only ones who knew it, the only ones to whom the Father was revealing Himself. They had to either believe God or everyone else, and what they did in responding to God, choosing Him against the adversity of the whole world, makes God happy because it shows they believe Him even though nobody else even had the opportunity, even though it brought them grief and suffering—simply put it would have been a lot easier not to believe what was happening inside them than to believe, and to demonstrate the conviction of that not just with mouth babble, but by a real choice, which had real consequences.
Without (actual) faith it is impossible to please God.
It's easy to have faith in something that doesn't come with much of a consequence. In the same way we cannot see the living word, the voice who has been speaking to us for a few years already, while nobody in the world of humans is validating that truth in us. We've pretty much accepted the fact that nobody ever will, either. That is increasingly mattering less to us because we know that the Father has continued to validate the truth He put into us, which is beginning to be acceptable as our old nature that craves that validation is diminishing. We know that he is alive inside us just as Noah heard and knew. So we respond by believing that invisible truth, hidden in a way even to us so that we will have to grasp at the faith we must have and rely on the Father rather than what the world says, and that's what God loves. That is the process of the Father revealing Himself to His genuine sons, not as the humans would do it, or even conceive of doing it. That is how the Father, who loves irony and surprise, does it—so that nobody else even knows, and if someone else does, they aren't credible, honorable or believable.
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
It's impossible to have actual faith until one has the presentation of the thing God wants His sons to have faith in. It is unlike the general sentiment about faith, made up and maintained by those who aren't presented with that hidden and mysterious choice. For the world of humans it means nothing, because for the humans it's merely a wondering whether God might exist, and if so then there's the hope of receiving the ability to live forever by going to "heaven" instead of "hell." So the conclusion and teaching is that all what you gotta do is believe in your version of the jesus god over the other versions, which the leaders say is exercising faith, belief—but actually means nothing and mostly bears no adversity because there's an entire group around you who believe and validate the same lies you do. You can hide there in the midst of them. That's the lie of what faith is, for the whole world to respond to with all their little religious institutions and their made up gods. It is truly the of the same substance as the mythical gods of Rome and Greece. There is One God, and no others beside Him. There is no jesus god, nor a holy spirit god (the good gods), nor is there a devil demigod (the bad god).
It takes balls to believe something that nobody else is going to validate, something that's gonna make you look like a foolish, crazy person. Noah's choice meant having to believe that God was telling him something based on a phenomenon not yet even known in the world (rain), unable to be validated by the people in the world around him, or even the world itself. God's sons are given something very specific to have faith in, and it will not be something validated by numbers or anything else in the world which might reinforce it, except perhaps one other person, or the smallest handful of unreliable witnesses as the validation that it is real. Having to make a choice about that is the faith of Hebrews 11, because it's actually compelling, not just another decision to make with few consequences as to the way the man lives out his life—how many kids he will have, how big and where his house will be, what career he will have, whether he does weekly exhortations or not, how good looking his wife will remain, how much money he'll have in the bank, how intelligent he'll appear, how much people will respect and honor him, etc. That's what the animals do; for the son it will be: will he believe what is happening inside him and respond to God or not. The choice is the thing that matters.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.
Jesus knew God's way because God was living in him since he was born—the first human to be born from above, the firstborn of many brothers. God lived in him to teach him that he was the one about whom Isaiah wrote, the One who would "Reject the wrong (the way of the animal and adversary of God), and to choose the right (God's way, opposite the animals)." He grew up learning the way of his Father, rather than the way of everyone else's father (what the other humans learned). But there wasn't external validation to reaffirm to him that what he thought was true actually was true, because it was only happening to him. His only validation came from one guy who seemed a little crazy, preaching in the wilderness away from the rest of the humans. One might think, as did Jesus' brothers, that the leaders would rally around their Messiah and validate his authority, once they were convinced about who he actually was (the substance of the second temptation—"If you are the Son of God..."). God's desire was not to mesh the natural with His reality, because the natural is temporary and supremely inferior. He kept them separated by keeping the reality of the Son's identity hidden from the humans. The new covenant, its entirety contained in that one seemingly dispensable life, was instituted by his decision to respond to the secret invisible truth instead of what he was tempted to respond to, what everyone else was driven by. That's why the Father loves him (a hint about how the son can please the Father).
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
We were all born and raised by the values of the world and and the tendencies of instinct. We all have the humans' collective values pounded into our head by everything we look at and observe when we went out amongst them and learned for ourselves how to be. When we were very young we actually had the capacity to believe in things which to the mature animals can't be true because they cannot be seen and aren't validated by them—fantasies, fairy tales and other things of the imagination. The mature animals who rule the world call that naive and inferior, something they can't wait to grow up out of. Then we grew in the power of the flesh and became mature just like them (we passed over to death), learning what to value and attempt to attain to based on what the animals can see and validate with their natural eyes and faculties—what will lend to their survival better and longer in all the ways the animals need to survive, driven by that nature.
The values of the world were instilled in us from the day we were conscious enough to start absorbing them. We learned what was important—money and things, worldly "love" (sexual urges and drives, need for acceptance and validation from those we thought were important) and the advancement and preservation of our ego, our selves, our identity amongst the animals. We learned to only believe in what we could see and reason into being, and then value and run after those tangible things. We learned to fear being alone, not having enough money, not being good enough or smart enough or rich enough to be accepted by the world. We learned the way of man the animal, surviving in a hostile world of animals.
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
When God comes with the power to give us birth from above and tell us we are sons, we don't get the humans' approval. They can only approve of what they can validate, which the world around them validates in them. We're confused about it at first because we're newly born and totally ignorant about the true way of God, because it's never been taught to us. As we have a little more understanding because we're a little more grown up in the spirit, we can see a little more what God's way is instead of man's way. But it remains secret and hidden, and the world will not validate it for us. The only validation is secret and hidden, so that our faith can be real. We are becoming again like little children, who must believe what the world cannot believe, because it hasn't been given to the world. We heard the silent word of God that spoke to us with power and deep conviction; but only to us, and we respond to our true Father, hidden from the rest of the animals.
As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.
The natural world exists to be an adversary to the sons of God, so that their faith can be real and genuine,a nd so they can learn to love each other, as is the way the Father wants His own sons to be—against the way that is naturally in them to be as an animal, driven by instinct to only be able to truly "love" themselves and the humans who carry their own DNA—totally selfish and driven by self-love disguised as something good. God created the natural world and uses it for His purpose, just as He used an adversary in the account of Job. God's family is is a living entity, waiting for its redemption from the ground of the earth. The Lazarus story is to show the sons that it doesn't matter how long one's body is rotting in the ground, because God isn't in the natural. If the seal and deposit—His spiritual life and presence—is in the man, then that one will be redeemed, reaffirmed by the copy, which was the passover story.
The way of God is that His sons learn to be 180 degrees opposite to what they were before. Instead of self-preserving animals they learn the way of the Son, to care and have concern not for themselves, but the ones they know God has given to them as sheep who need a shepherd. Each one becomes that shepherd, whose burden becomes leading, steering the other sheep in the right direction, away from themselves and toward the Father. Of themselves they can only produce the desire to eat the sheep for their own gain, to exploit them for what they can get for themselves, as per what is consistent in all animals. Money, sex, ego gratification, all with a veneer of the snake's lie wrapped around it to make it look right. God's true shepherds don't just talk about being shepherds while they live as wolves disguised as sheep. Their only hope is to have their old nature purged out of them so the nature of the Son can be put in them, which must become their identity. The sons' hearts are changed at such a sub level as to provide the genuineness that Jesus had, and they learn to be the opposite of all the animals around them—what they naturally are/were.
For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.
This is a kind of formula for the true sons of God in the world. Just as the Jews killed Jesus, driving him outside the camp, that is their worldly institution made by men, so too the Thessalonians were being driven out of culturally acceptability by the word that was alive in them, separating them from the mere humans and making them sons. The formula found its pinnacle in that the truth of God and what He was about to do in the world was completely hidden in Jesus' body. His worldly acceptance was tiny, while his acceptance to the hidden Creator of that world was the greatest ever. The truth of God, if it is in a man's body, will always go against the way and desire of the animals around that man, and even the man himself.